Ada Lovelace

Countess Ada Lovelace was “the world’s first computer programmer.”

By Mina Toscano ’20

Tuesday, October 10, 2017. That is Ada Lovelace Day (ALD). It’s a global celebration of the incredible achievements that women have made in science, technology, engineering, and math. The international celebration strives to encourage more young women to have more of an interest in the STEM program. It also acknowledges the strides that women currently working in STEM are making to create a brighter future for everyone. With that said, it’s also important to give a nod to the Countess herself, and what she contributed to the STEM world.

Ada Lovelace was born on December 10, 1815, in London, England. She died on November 27, 1852. She was 36. In that short amount of time, she kept herself pretty busy. Before talking about the in between, let’s talk about the beginning of her life. Ada was born to the poet Lord Byron and his wife Lady Wentworth. A lot of offense to Lord Byron, he sounded like a terrible father. A month after she was born, Lord Byron skipped town and died of disease in some war. After that awful marriage, Lady Wentworth was not about to let her daughter sit around and do nothing all day. She heavily encouraged her to expand her interests in mathematics. That’s some good parenting. Fast forward to when Ada was older, and she was still involved in the STEM program. She was asked by Charles Babbage to translate French notes that were taken during his lecture and write them in English. His lecture was about his proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. She did, however while reading them, she wrote down her own notes and included them in her translation. She understood the logistics of the engine and predicted that machines like Babbage’s could be used to compose music, produce graphics, and be useful to science. Her notes ended up being the first complete algorithm for the computer. She had become the world’s first computer programmer.

In my opinion, Ada Lovelace Day is a fantastic way to acknowledge the contributions that women in STEM are making every single day. By giving this day a little more recognition, I hope that it will inspire more interested women to continue the incredible work in STEM for generations to come.